Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and left that night for Egypt, where they stayed until the death of Herod. (Mt: 2.14) The image of Joseph, Mary and Jesus sitting in the shade of a tree with their donkey tethered to a branch outside some Egyptian town all those years ago is repeated almost daily in newscasts.
I have mixed feelings reflecting on my experience of learning the Chinese Mandarin language. This includes happiness, sadness and confusion. By the end of this semester, I will be finishing up with full-time language studies. This makes me feel sad because I would not be seeing my classmates again, and I know I will miss them. I also feel very happy because at the end of each class day, I learned something new and practical.
When I was asked to write about the meaning of Christmas for a newsletter for Columban lay missionaries, I wished to share with other missionaries about something special or unique which others never imagined. But it was not easy for me to reflect and write because Christmas day in my country of assignment [China] is not a holiday. For the majority of people here the significance of Christmas means very little to them.
Where will the Christmas Festival for the communities be held this year?" asked Carolina, the Coordinator of the active Christian community of Chosicani, one of 20 Christian communities that make up the rural parish of Combapata. This parish is located at 2.3 miles high up in the Andes Mountains of southern Peru. While Spanish is spoken in the towns, Quechua, one of the indigenous languages of Peru, is the language of the villages and rural areas like Combapata.
On behalf of all the patients that we minister to daily I want to say a very sincere "thank you." Your support and prayers have reached out to many, many poor and struggling people. These are the people who have very little of this world's trappings but who awaken each day knowing that survival is overshadowing every movement and choice they make.
When I joined the Columban Lay Missionary orientation program in 2002, I knew that my decision entailed a lot of letting go. I knew that there will be special occasions at home that I would miss. This includes one of the most important gatherings, a time to be home, a time with family during Christmas. Since 2003, I have only spent two Christmases with my family: 2009 and 2016. Sadly, 2009 was my mom's last Christmas before she passed away.
For millions of Filipinos, Christmas is a celebration of the family. They come together from around the world; they delight in the togetherness and sharing of respect. They honor the aged, bless the children, and feed the hungry. They fill the churches with light, song and festival, and they have joyful celebrations. They recall the story of that astounding child who became the greatest person to influence the history of the human race for the good.
I am standing in the center of the spacious main hall, the atrium, of the new Preda children's home for girls. The light from the transparent roof throws its soft and gentle light on the children playing nosily, shouting in glee. They are happy, running about, playing games, and laughing, cheerful and joyful. They had a sumptuous Christmas dinner and gifts and new clothes. They are the lucky ones to have found refuge and protection and a chance to start their childhood over.